Quick Shot: Hungry Killdeer

Hunting for a good meal as a bird is significantly more challenging in the winter, particularly when snow and ice can cover the ground and deny access to food. This winter has been particularly harsh along the east coast with almost constant snow. 

The Potomac River has been partially frozen at times, but I found a spot in Maryland where the ice had melted enough for this adult killdeer to fish in the shallows for a meal. I was stalking him for several minutes to allow him to get comfortable with my presence and so that he could resume his natural feeding behavior. When he started to feed again, he would pick up small clams in his beak and throw them back into the water, probably hoping to find one he could open and eat. In this quick shot, I caught him right as he splashed the clam back into the water and you can see the small droplets from the splash he created.

When photographing birds like this, it's important to try and shoot as close to "birds eye view" as possible and let the wildlife acclimate to your presence. I'd been waiting almost 15 minutes before I got this photograph - patience is important! 

I shot this with my Nikon 80-400mm lens and used my SB-700 flash with Better Beamer Flash Extender to help bring some light out in the dreary winter day.